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Commissioners want answers on inmate death, give 30-cent raises

Staff writer

County commissioners were not happy that Sheriff Rob Craft did not appear Monday for his scheduled quarterly update because, county clerk Tina Spencer said, he didn’t have anything to discuss.

Commission chairman Randy Dallke disagreed.

“We had an incident in our jail,” Dallke said. “I hate for them to cancel their quarterly update even if they don’t have anything. We might have something.”

Dallke said if the Dec. 5 suicide of an inmate is being probed by Kansas Bureau of Investigation, he wants to be kept posted.

Dallke said commissioners will be named as defendants if the family files a lawsuit.

New county commissioner David Mueller also said he wanted weekly reports from county health department director Diedre Serene to continue. At last week’s meeting, commissioners decided to end Serene’s weekly updates on the spread of COVID-19 in the county. Instead, the county would be kept abreast of immunization rates and other updates “commissioners ought to know.”

“From my perspective, I still consider it important,” Mueller said. “I want to demonstrate that we’re concerned.”

Commissioners David Crofoot and Dallke agreed.

Mueller voted against a 30-cents-an-hour pay raise for county employees in his first meeting Monday.

Mueller thought 34 cents an hour, as suggested by commissioner Jonah Gehring, would be better.

Dallke said a pay plan the county conducted a couple of years ago showed that a few positions were overpaid. Dallke said giving raises might aggravate the situation.

Crofoot, Dallke, and Gehring voted to hike employees’ pay.

Last modified Jan. 14, 2021

 

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